Illini Jump To Top 2 For D.C. DB After Visit?

The Fighting Illini football staff made a good impression with a Monday visitor. Safety Darwyn Kelly made the trek from Washington D.C. and came away impressed. The Illini hope he can maintain the pipeline they have enjoyed with H.D. Woodson High School athletes.

Darwyn Kelly had to postpone his visit to Illinois several times, but Monday was the charm. He was extremely complimentary about everyone he met and everything he saw on the visit.

"I loved the visit. The coaches showed me love. Coach (Chris) Beatty, Coach (Tim) Banks, all of them. I even got a chance to sit down and talk to Coach (Tim) Beckman. He is a really cool, down-to-earth person.

"The football facilities were great, and the campus was nice. The education part to the school was great. They have one of the top business schools in the country. Business is what I plan to study, so that's a plus.

"Illinois really really impressed me. I enjoyed my visit."

Kelly has a number of offers besides Illinois. They include Georgia, Georgia Tech, Kansas, North Carolina, Penn State, Purdue and Duke, among others. His Illini visit appears to have elevated them into a top two.

"Illinois really jumped up there to me today. Also UNC."

Illinois appears to fit Kelly's criteria for choosing a college.

"I'm looking for somewhere I can get a quality education that means something for life after football. Also a family environment that actually cares about me and will help me grow as a man and a player. Also, somewhere that can help me prepare for the NFL if I chose to do that."

While he is being recruited as a safety, he sounds a lot like former Illini and Woodson product Tavon Wilson in terms of his size (6'-2", 195) and skill. Wilson parlayed his versatility into an NFL draft pick.

"I'm interchangeable. I'm not just a safety, I can play corner as well. My knowledge of the game is an essential part of my game. Knowing what teams and coaches are trying to do to you is key. My instincts, ball skills, cover ability whether that's zone or man and coming up and helping on run support are all good."

The fall football season is right around the corner, and Kelly feels his team has great potential.

"We look good and are ready to win the Turkey Bowl."

It appears a college decision will come prior to the season.

"I'll probably decide in the next few weeks."

Will a long-term history of Woodson players with success at Illinois give it a boost in Kelly's estimation?

"It is taken into consideration."

Illini Inquirer Top Stories